……from your Pastors Desk
Your Word tells us,
“Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build.
Unless the Lord guard the city, in vain does the guard keep watch” (Psalm 127:1).
Thank You for those who have guarded not only our cities, but our country, allies, and many other communities from unjust and unprincipled aggressors. On this Memorial Day, with a solemn and sacred spirit, we pause to remember and honor the brave men and women in our Armed Forces who gave up their lives for their fellow Americans at home and abroad. Many were young and many were married, with their loved ones praying for them back home; but they were each fighting to protect the freedom we enjoy when they were called to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Dear God, please bless our heroes and heroines with Your mercy, grace, and peace. Bless also their families and friends. May Your perpetual light shine upon them; and may their souls and the souls of all our faithful departed rest in peace.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
When I go to Memorial Day wreath laying service at cemeteries, I always find it interesting to observe people on this day who don’t believe in Purgatory, or, for that matter, don’t believe in any life after death. Same thing at funerals. I can’t help wonder what they are thinking and sometimes I actually ask them.
For us Catholics praying for the dead is as familiar as the back of our hand. Always done it, do it now, always will. And we certainly hope people will do the same for us when our time comes. And, by the way, praying for the dead IS in the Bible. From the earliest centuries, the Church has blessed the custom of praying for the dead. Primitive inscriptions on the catacombs and other burial places throughout the Roman Empire bear witness to this belief.
As to the day itself; Memorial Day originated as ―Decoration Day, a day to honor the Civil War dead. Gradually, it became the day to remember all the deceased service members. But, let’s not get too patriotic or romantic about this – just because some-one died in a war – even died saving others – does not guarantee a straight shot to heaven. Although wreaths and flowers on graves look pretty, they quickly wither and fade. Prayers, especially Holy Mass, offered for the deceased are of the greatest benefit.
As one who served many years in uniform, and most of them as a Chaplain, I was blessed to minister to thousands of people. I can tell you that they are as much a mixture of personalities as we are. I knew, personally, men and women who died in combat and I pray for them every day. They need our prayers. So, we pray for their souls. Just as I hope you will pray for mine – and be assured – I for yours.
Our God is Merciful – and Just. Our God is Just – and Merciful
Our Special Mass on Memorial Day – Monday, May 30th, is at 9AM.